Of the Kabbalistic circles in the eighteenth century, one of the most colorful and controversial was led by R. Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto of Padua. The recent printing of numerous works by his closest associate, R. Moshe David Valle, encourages reexamining the circle, placing it in proper historical context - that of the Illuminismo. Textual analysis uncovers a mystical interpretation of labor and power. The suggestion that one should link these concerns to early industrialization contains several methodological implications for eighteenth-century studies - including the relationship between Jewish and general culture and between social and religious change, as well as the need for greater stress on Italy.
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|Published - Dec 2010